Biometric ID documents available in Ukraine, coming to Kyrgyzstan next year
On February 5, Ukraine started issuing biometric ID cards with a Qualified Electronic Signature (QES), which citizens can use to access government information systems and electronic services, Unian reports, as countries continue to upgrade their travel and civil ID documents.
The new card was introduced by the Interior Ministry and the State Migration Service, as confirmed by the Ministry’s Communication Department. The first person to test the ID card service was President Zelensky.
QES key certificates are valid for 24 months.
According to the Ukrainian Interior Minister Arsen Avakov, the ID is based on the Unified State Register and comes with in-built security and biometric data, which will be shared among registries.
“The president of Ukraine has joined 4.4 million owners of modern ID cards. He was the first to use the new service of the Interior Ministry – he received a QES in an ID chip. Now any owner of an ID card may get a QES,” Avakov explained.
In two weeks, the ministry will showcase an electronic mirror of a passport, available for citizens aged 18 and up. The ministry further stated that QES registration and ID cards are not mandatory and they are only introduced following citizens’ request.
The Head of the State Migration Service, Maksym Sokoliuk, stated the service has been leveraging biometrics since 2015, with some 15 million biometric passports released to date.
“We have introduced a new ID card in 2016. In 2017 and 2018, respectively, we signed agreements with Turkey and Georgia on unhindered crossing with ID cards. Negotiations are underway with other countries,” he said.
Kyrgyzstan introduces biometric passports in 2021
Plans to replace citizen ID cards with biometric passports were first announced in 2017 by the Kyrgyzstan State Registration Service (SRS) Chairman Tayirbek Sarpashev. The decision to introduce biometric passports followed a U.S. presidential order claiming citizens of countries that do not issue biometric passports will be restricted from entering the U.S.
Mambetov did not give away too much information about the tender for printing or which companies the government is negotiating with, but he confirmed a trial has been completed.
“We are going to print the passports in the country. This is a matter of security and the image of the state, confidence that they will not go anywhere,” said Almaz Mambetov.
This week, the U.S. announced visa and travel restrictions for Kyrgyz citizens.
Jamaica, Bangladesh, Fiji and Romania all made announcements about biometric passports or eIDs in January.